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Technology That's a Breath of Fresh Air

Techstination feature for Tuesday, September 5, 2000

Technology can monitor all kinds of things. Even your breath. I'm Fred Fishkin with Bloomberg Bootcamp. Think of it as a smoke alarm for your mouth. A company called Tanita is marketing a pocket electronic device called BreathAlert. It tells you what breathing into your palm can't...

"Your nose becomes de-sensitized to the odor originating from the mouth, so the palm actually doesn't quite work. There is no other way other than another individual or a device like this to tell you when you have bad breath."

Tanita new product development manager Carol Benson. The BreathAlert measures the volatile sulfur compounds given off by bacteria... and gives you a read out ranging from one to four on an LCD screen. Benson says think of the thirty dollar investment in the device as a kind of insurance policy...

"You've gone into the meeting with the boss for the first time, you've met your, the first date, you've met a big client... these are all times when you think about how's my breath."

The one draw back... BreathAlert doesn't detect odors from food... like garlic or onions. But Benson points out...

"When we eat those kinds of things we do know we've eaten them and we do know we do need to do some masking. The BreathAlert is really for when we're not sure. And it measures about ninety percet of the cause of bad breath which is volatile sulfur compounds."

You can find more information on the Web at Bootcamp, I'm Fred Fishkin, Bloomberg News.